Becca Nightshade

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Becca Nightshade
Children Zeen Nightshade
Parents Spensa's great-grandmother & Spensa's great-grandfather
Descendants Spensa
Aliases Gran-Gran
World Detritus
Universe Skyward Universe
Featured In Skyward

We must not cower in the dark because we are afraid of the spark within us.

—Becca on Cytonic abilities[1]

Becca Nightshade (Gran-Gran) was a member of the crew of the Defiant and is now a resident of Igneous Cavern.[2] She is aware of, and may have, Cytonic abilities and does not consider them to be dangerous.[1]

Appearance and Personality[edit]

Becca is mostly blind and has milky white eyes, having lost her vision a few years ago. She has sticklike arms.[2] Based on the amount of time since the crash of the Defiant, she is at least eighty years old.[3]

She is a fierce defender of Cytonics and believes the DDF falsified the account of her son's betrayal during the Battle of Alta because they were afraid of his Cytonic abilities.[1]


As a child, Becca lived on the the battle cruiser Defiant, where she worker in the engine room alongside her mother. When doing so, she practiced "listening to the stars."[2] During this time, she learned many ancient legends of Old Earth from her father.[1]

Not much is known about what she did in the years following the crash of the Defiant, though she claims that those who worked in the engine room, Clan Motorskaps, stuck together.[2] Since at least the time of her son's death, she has been living with her granddaughter, Spensa Nightshade, and Spensa's mother. Since Spensa's mother is forbidden a job, she assists in keeping the family financially stable by helping prepare algae wraps and the rats Spensa kills to be sold. While living with Spensa, she frequently tells her granddaughter the stories of Old Earth heroes that she heard from her father and says that all of Old Earth's great warriors are Spensa's ancestors.[2]

Attributes and Abilities[edit]

Knowledge of Old Earth[edit]

Even [when we had] computers and libraries and all kinds of reminders, we found it easy to forget where we came from

—Becca Nightshade on how easily the crew of the Defiant forgot about Old Earth[1]

Even when the people of Detritus were still on the Defiant, most had little knowledge of Old Earth, and that knowledge has only diminished in the years since the Defiant crashed.[1] Among them, Becca stands out as one of the few who still remember the stories humans used to tell. The following is a list of all the people from Old Earth that Becca has mentioned so far:

  • Beowulf:[2] A Germanic hero who defeats a series of three monsters.
  • Leif Eriksson:[2] The first European to find one of the American continents.
  • Sun Tzu:[2] A Chinese general famous for his military tactics.
  • Genghis Khan:[2] A Mongol who conquered a large region in Asia and Eastern Europe.
  • Queen Boudicca:[2] A Celtic warrior who led a rebellion against the Roman Empire
  • Gilgamesh:[4] The first recorded hero; travels to the Underworld and tries to escape death.
  • Joan of Arc:[4] A French soldier who rallied the French armies to drive the English out of France in the Hundred Years' War.
  • Tarzan of Greystroke:[4] A fictional child raised by great apes.
  • Junmi: An author born sometime after the present day who wrote the book The Conquest of Space[5]
  • Tashenamani:[6] A Sioux women, also known as Moving Robe Woman, who fought against Colonel George Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn. According to Spensa, she killed Custer, though the historical evidence of this is ambiguous
  • Conan the Cimmerian:[6] A highly skilled fictional warrior whose story takes place before the rise of any known civilizations.
  • Odysseus:[6] An ancient Greek hero who fought in the Trojan War and then endured a long and difficult voyage home. After he flirts with her, Spensa tells Bim that Odysseus had blue hair like he does.[6]

Cytonic Abilities[edit]

This page or section deals with theories or speculation.
Please read carefully and note that this is not necessarily canonical.

As her mother, her son, and her granddaughter all have Cytonic abilities, it is likely that Becca does as well. The fact that her mother had her perform exercises to "listen to the stars" suggests that, at minimum, her mother though it likely that Becca would develop Cytonic abilities[2] and the DDF seems to believe that Cytonic abilities are inherited.[7] Furthermore, despite her blindness, Becca is able to unerringly focus her eyes on Spensa during a conversation,[1] which seems similar to how Jason Write overcame his blindness by using his Cytonic abilities to Sense the world around him.[8] If Becca can use Cytonics in this way, that would explain her ability to tell when Spensa has come to visit her before Spensa even says a word and how she "saw" Spensa roll her eyes.[2][1]

If Becca does have Cytonic abilities, it is unclear how extensive her training is. She seems to be able to Sense, and her mother likely trained her in faster-than-light travel, though it is unknown whether she actually mastered that skill. It is also unclear whether she is aware of or trained in other abilities, such as faster-than-light communication or mindblades.



Spensa is very close to her grandmother. She enjoys all of Becca's stories about the warriors of Old Earth and frequently looks to them for inspiration and courage.[2] After she begins to find out the truth of her father's Cytonic abilities and his actions during the Battle of Alta, Spensa seeks out Becca for answers, though they are not entirely to her liking.[1] Ultimately, however, Spensa chooses her grandmother's tales of heroism over the DDF's fears of the "defect" and both flies[9] and travels to space[10] during the Second Battle of Alta.

Spensa's Mother[edit]

Despite the fact that they live together, Becca's relationship with Spensa's mother is quite strained. Spensa's mother feels that Becca focuses too intensely on heritage, and tells Spensa that Becca makes it "a box instead of an inspiration."[1] This disagreement runs deep enough that Spensa's mother forbade Becca from telling Spensa about her family's history of Cytonic abilities. Despite their differences, however, both women are adamant that Spensa's father was not a coward.


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